For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4


Genesis 46

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

Home Up Bible Studies Gospel Tracts Jim Melough Contact


 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2000 James Melough

46:1.  “And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac.”

As noted already, this removal of Jacob and his family from famine-stricken Canaan into the lush land of Goshen, represents the regathering of the saved remnant into Palestine in the interval between the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennium.  Appropriately therefore, he is called by his new name Israel, the name that speaks of the new nature, rather than his old name Jacob, which speaks of the old nature. 

Before leaving Canaan, however, he stopped at Beer-sheba to offer sacrifices to God.  Beer-sheba which means well of the oath, is clearly a type of the Word.  In Ge 28:10 we saw Jacob going out from Beer-sheba on his way to Haran as he fled from Esau, and there the spiritual picture was of a man turning his back on the Word, and going to dwell spiritually in the world of pride, self-righteousness, and worldly ambition.  But we noted in our study of that chapter that in his leaving Canaan to sojourn for twenty years in Haran, he is the representative also of the nation of Israel during the two thousand years of their dispersal out of the land amongst the Gentiles.  It is significant therefore, that this is the first time we read of Beer-sheba in connection with Jacob since that day when he fled to Haran.

It was Jacob who went out from Beer-sheba to endure twenty years of bondage to Laban, but it is Israel who is now found again back at Beer-sheba offering sacrifices to God.  Much had transpired in the intervening years, and in those events we have the pre-written history of the nation of Israel between that day (AD 70) when they went out from “Beer-sheba,” until the day, when as a converted nation, they too will stop at “Beer-sheba” to offer sacrifices to God as they enter the Millennium. 

It is instructive also that God is described as “the God of his father Isaac,” meaning he shall laugh.  In the years between his departure from Beer-sheba, and that day when he returned to it to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, Jacob had often had occasion to weep, but now the weeping has ended: he will spend the rest of his life with Joseph in Goshen.  The type will be fulfilled in a day that surely can’t be far off, when the saved nation Israel will spend her final earthly years with Christ in the Millennium, before passing into the enjoyment of eternal blessings in “a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pe 3:13).  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Ps 30:5).  Israel’s long night of weeping is almost ended, the first faint light of the dawn of that endless morning of joy can almost be discerned, had she but the eyes to see it. 

46:2.  “And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob.  And he said, Here am I.”

The employment of the two names Israel and Jacob serve to remind us of several truths in relation to the nation Israel.  She is divided into two parts: the believing remnant, represented by Israel, and the unbelieving mass of the nation represented by Jacob.  Such she has always been, and apart from the believing generation that will pass from the Tribulation into the millennial kingdom, such will she continue to be in the Millennium.  But even in regard to that believing remnant, we are reminded, that like all believers, they will have two natures dwelling within the same physical bodies: the old Jacob nature will continue to dwell side by side with the new Israel nature until they pass from the Millennium into the eternal state. 

God’s addressing him therefore, as Jacob, and in fact, repeating the name, emphasizes that the remnant represented by this man are, though saved, still an earthly people. 

The time when He spoke, i.e., “in the visions of the night” would also instruct us.  Literal darkness is always symbolic of a corresponding spiritual state.  Believers on earth “see through a glass, darkly” (1 Co 13:12).  For the remnant, as for all believers, total light will come only when earth is exchanged for heaven.  “Then shall I know even as also I am known.”  The willingness of the remnant to hear God’s voice is declared in Jacob’s response, “Here am I.”

46:3.  “And He said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation.”

“Thy father,” refers to Isaac he shall laugh.  God continues to present Himself as the God Who will change tears to laughter.   He will multiply a family into a nation. 

If God’s purposes are to be accomplished for Jacob, and for the nation that will spring from him, Jacob must go down into Egypt.  In this we learn the lesson, that since Egypt represents the world, it is here in the world that God accomplishes His purposes for His own in every age.  It is in the crucible of earth that the gold of faith is refined, and the believer fitted for heaven. 

We have viewed Jacob’s going from Canaan to Goshen as being symbolic of the Tribulation remnant’s regathering from among the nations, into their own land at the beginning of the Millennium, and in this we learn the truth that that return will be to bring them eventually into the eternal enjoyment of heaven.  Earthly experience, even in the Millennium, is a necessary part of the process by which God fits all of His own for heaven. 

In Jacob’s being sent into Egypt we see the symbolic declaration of the truth that though conversion brings us spiritually into the sphere which Canaan represents, we are, nevertheless, sent into “Egypt” the world, to be God’s witnesses to earth’s unconverted masses.

Few, looking at that small family, could have foreseen that they would become the nation that will yet rule all nations.  Similarly, few looking on the small, weak handful of believers who constitute the Church on earth today, could see what is yet to be: that Church, glorious, “without spot or wrinkle,” will reign eternally with Christ. 

To His own in every age, as to Jacob long ago, God says, “Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will there make of thee a great nation.”  That assurance, however, is given only to those who “go down into Egypt” at God’s command, not to those who go there of their own choice, to enjoy its wealth and pleasures.  The multiplication of Jacob in Egypt is meant to teach us that God wants us to multiply here in “Egypt.”  He wants us to be fruitful in begetting spiritual sons and daughters, i.e., men and women led to the Savior.

46:4.  “I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.”

Any fear Jacob might have had about leaving Canaan for Egypt was dispelled by God’s assurance, “I will go down with thee into Egypt.”  The Lord has given us a similar assurance as He sends us “down into Egypt,” in obedience to His command, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations ... and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (age)” (Mt 28:19-20).  None need fear to go where God promises to be his Companion. 

“And I will also bring thee up again.”  Canaan had been promised to Abraham and his posterity, and while God might take them out of it for a little while, as He has done several times, He will bring them into it again for the last thousand years of earthly history, after which they will enjoy eternal blessings better even than those of millennial Canaan. 

“And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.”  This was the assurance that Jacob and Joseph would not be separated again.  When Jacob’s time came to die, it would be Joseph’s hand that would close his eyelids. 

It is to be in resurrection that the patriarchs will possess Canaan, with their literal descendants on the millennial earth, and they themselves in the heavenly Jerusalem over it. 

46:5.  “And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry them.”

This was a vastly different Jacob from the one, who years before, had left Beer-sheba for Haran.  There he went, as he said himself, with only his staff, and unknown to him, to spend twenty years in God’s school.  But now the school days are over.  Jacob has become Israel, and the years of chastisement are to be followed by the enjoyment of the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” (Heb 12:11).

It is instructive to note that Jacob was carried, and by “the sons of Israel.”  When he left Beer-sheba for Haran it was Jacob, the old nature, who walked in self-will: here the Jacob nature is carried, it is no longer in control.  The sons of Israel (not Jacob) now control the movements of Jacob.  This speaks of the control of the new nature; but more, it speaks also of the perpetuation of Jacob’s life through his sons and their children, to endless generations, and they are called the sons of Israel, not Jacob.  The new nature, represented by the new name Israel, will never die. 

They traveled “in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry them.”  All of this continues to portray, not only the return of the remnant to Palestine after the Tribulation: it speaks also of the journey of each believer through this world on his way to heaven.  That journey, too, begins at “Beer-sheba” the moment we drink of the water of life from the well of the Word, and thank God for salvation.  As the wagons sent by Pharaoh (in the present context, type of the Father) separated them from the ground over which they journeyed, so is the believer separated from the world through which he journeys on his way to heaven.  We are in the world, but we are not to be of it.  Those wagons made it unnecessary for them to take even a step.  In this is announced the truth that it is God Himself Who has guaranteed our safe arrival in heaven without our having to take one step in our own strength.  “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever.  Amen” (Jude 24,25).

46:6.  “And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him.”

The primary application continues to be to the restoration of the remnant after the Tribulation: they will take with them into the Millennium all their cattle and goods.  The type, however, goes beyond a mere literal statement concerning the remnant: it reminds us symbolically that we of this present age will take with us into heaven what the cattle and goods represent - the good works, the service rendered to Christ during the days of our earthly sojourn.  As the cattle and goods of Jacob would be multiplied in Goshen, so will the possessions of the remnant be multiplied in the Millennium; and for us, the good works done on earth will be multiplied to an eternal treasure in heaven. 

46:7.  “His sons and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.”

This may imply that there will pass into the Millennium with the remnant, their children who will not have come to an age of accountability.  It certainly portrays in symbol the perpetuation of the lives of the remnant in the Millennium: they will never die, for they will pass from the Millennium into the new earth, the eternal state. 

As a symbolic picture of our future, this speaks also of the eternal perpetuation of our own lives, and in addition, may speak of those spiritual “sons and daughters,” (men and women won for Christ) who will be with us in heaven. 

46:8.  “And these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.”

The full significance of this section will be missed unless we understand that in the meanings of the names of Jacob’s sons (the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel), God is setting before us in symbol the character of the nation.  But since that nation is God’s mirror in which He bids us see ourselves, He intends us to see also a picture of our own character as redeemed men here on earth.

There is first the general statement that the children of Israel who went into Egypt were Jacob and his sons.  This continues to remind us that the millennial remnant, which in this present context they represent, will be a saved people, but still in the body here on earth, having side by side with the new, the old Jacob nature.  This is true also of us. 

The description then becomes particular, specifying the individuals by name, and in this God declares the characteristics of the remnant.  First named is Reuben, meaning see ye, a son.  As God leads the remnant into the Millennium, and establishes them as first among the nations, He will, as it were, exclaim, “See ye, a son” - “Israel My son, My firstborn” (Ex 4:22). 

As we have noted in previous studies, however, the firstborn always speaks of the old nature.  That saved remnant will still have to contend with the old nature until the Millennium ends, as we will have to contend with it till the end of life’s journey.  As might be expected Reuben is described, not as Israel’s firstborn, but as Jacob’s.

46:9.  “And the sons of Reuben; Hanoch, and Phallu, and Hezron, and Carmi.”

Before looking at these names individually we should note that there are four of them, and four is the number of earth and testing.  The Millennium, like every other dispensation, will be a time of earthly experience and testing.  We should note also, that as sons of Jacob’s firstborn Reuben, himself the representative of the old nature, these four sons tell us that the children who will be born to the remnant in the Millennium, will be mere natural men requiring a new spiritual birth to fit them for the eternal state that will follow the Millennium. 

Hanoch means dedicated, and indicates perhaps that those of the remnant who will be parents, will seek to dedicate their children to the Lord, as do believing parents today.  In regard to such dedication, however, it has to be realized that it consists merely in praying for them and instructing them in the knowledge of God and in the imperative of being born again.  It is not to be construed as implying their salvation, for no one can exercise faith for another.  In every age each individual must exercise personal faith in Christ in order to be saved from hell and fitted for heaven.

Phallu means wonderful, and may be meant to teach us that a characteristic of that saved remnant will be a grateful wonder at the blessings into which they will have been brought, as compared with the terrible Tribulation judgments from which they will have been delivered.  The comparison of our present and former state should evoke the same grateful wonder in our hearts.

We might note incidentally, that only that first generation will be able to make that comparison.  Those born in the Millennium, and therefore never having experienced anything of the terrible Tribulation judgments, will have nothing with which to make a comparison, with the result that they will probably be less appreciative of their blessings.  It is the same today with believers in the western world.  We tend to take for granted the blessings of Christianity, forgetting that some of those blessings are ours because others have been willing to die to preserve them.  Many Christians live in lands less favored.

Hezron means enclosed: arrow of song: division of song.  Enclosed suggests protection, while song is almost invariably the expression of joy.  The enjoyment of Divine protection, will produce joyful singing on the part of the millennial-age believers.  We who enjoy the same protection have equal reason to be a joyful people.

There must be also instruction in the fact that arrow and division are connected with the song, but the lesson isn’t readily discernible, though two thoughts suggest themselves.  Arrows are mentioned frequently in Scripture in connection with God’s execution of judgment, so a further reason for singing in the Millennium will be the fact, that unlike this present age, the execution of Divine judgment will be instantaneous, a judgment which the obedient in all ages have no reason to fear. 

Division, however, seems to declare a different truth.  There will be unbelievers also on the millennial earth, and as today unbelievers rejoice for temporal bounties while ignoring spiritual blessings, so will it be also in the Millennium. 

Carmi meaning my vineyard, evokes the thought of abundant fruitfulness under the watchful care of the Divine Husbandman, and Israel is likened to a vineyard, see for example Isaiah chapter 5.  Fruitfulness will mark the remnant in those halcyon days which will bring earth’s tempestuous history to a close. 

46:10.  “And the sons of Simeon; Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman.”

Simeon means hearkening, and the fact that his sons are six (number of man, weakness, imperfection, sin) reminds us that with all its blessedness, the Millennium will be still only an earthly state, falling short of the perfection of heaven. 

Before looking at the names of his sons, we may see in Simeon’s entering Goshen, the revelation of the fact that the “hearkening” (obedience) which his name represents will be one of the characteristics of the millennial age: God’s voice will be obeyed, for rebellion will not be tolerated. 

As sons of him whose name is synonymous with obedience, these six, it seems, should be viewed also in relation to obedience.  The first one is Jemuel, meaning he will be made slumber of God.  Since slumber in Scripture always has an evil connotation, e.g., Ro 11:8, “God hath given them (unbelieving Israel) the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see....” it may be that Jemuel is meant to warn against a careless attitude.  That such an attitude will develop as the Millennium continues, seems to be indicated here.  The application to ourselves need hardly be discussed: the Biblical warnings against such carelessness speak for themselves.

The second son Jamin means the right hand, but I am unable to determine whether the connotation is good or bad.  If good, it would represent the powerful activity of good, since the right hand in Scripture always speaks of strength.  If evil, however, it would speak of the strength of evil activity, but since no overt rebellion will be tolerated in that age, it would be an activity of evil in heart and mind rather than deed.  The eagerness with which multitudes will rush to ally themselves with Satan in his final rebellion, assures us that in the Millennium there will be such covert rebellion as may perhaps be implied in the meaning of Jamin’s name. 

The need to guard our minds against evil is obvious.

The third son of Simeon is Ohad, meaning he shouted, but I regret being unable to see clearly the spiritual significance of this, so must leave it without comment.

The fourth (number of testing) son is Jachin, meaning he will establish, and the thought seems to be that God will establish the man who is obedient in the midst of testing

The next son, the fifth, Zohar means whitening, and the Lord’s referring to the hypocritical Pharisees as being “like unto whited sepulchres” (Mt 23:27) may justify the conclusion that similar hypocrisy will develop in the Millennium.  The obedience of the unbelievers will be feigned.

Shual, meaning a jackal, is the sixth son, and he is distinguished from the others as being “the son of a Canaanitish woman.”  His being the sixth (number of man, weakness, failure, sin, and evil in general) marks him as being representative of evil, confirmed by his being the son of a Canaanitish woman, for Canaanite means trafficker in the evil sense of trafficking in spiritual things for temporal gain.

The meaning of his name, a jackal, adds further evidence of his representing evil, for the jackal, a carrion eater, is included among the unclean animals.

On the whole, it seems that Simeon’s sons give at least a hint that each new generation born in the Millennium will see an increase in the number of those who will harbor evil in their hearts, and whose allegiance to Christ will be feigned. 

46:11.  “And the sons of Levi, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.”

Jacob’s third son, Levi meaning joined, reminds us that the remnant will be joined to Christ through faith.  As sons of such a father it seems that they ought to portray good rather than evil.

Gershon means an outcast, and certainly today those who are truly joined to Christ, and who walk in obedience to His Word, are the outcasts of the world, but since it is difficult to see how this could be true of believers in the Millennium, I regret being unable to read the spiritual significance of his name.

Levi’s second son, Kohath means waiting: obedient: assembly, and this would seem to fittingly describe the millennial-age believers.

Marari the third son, and meaning my bitterness is also  difficult to interpret, for the simple reason that it is hard to see how there could be bitterness on the millennial earth, so I have to leave this also without comment.

46:12.  “And the sons of Judah; Er and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.  And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.”

Judah means he shall be praised, a meaning which tells us that the adoration of God will be worldwide in the Millennium. 

For a discussion of Er and Onan, please see the notes on chapter thirty-eight.  They seem to represent, not only the unbelieving part of the nation that will be cast out before the Millennium begins, but also the old nature which is always rejected.  It is worth noting, however, that as if to fill the two places left vacant by their deaths, God has here recorded the names of Judah’s two grandsons, Hezron enclosed: arrow of song: division of song, and Hamul pitied.  Hezron was also the name of one of Reuben’s sons, and the meaning here is the same, see verse nine.  In regard to Hamul, I regret having to leave it also without comment, since I cannot discern the truth being declared in the meaning of his name.

To return to the remaining three sons of Judah, Shela means quietness: request, and in our study of Ge 38:5 we took him to represent spiritually resurrected Israel dwelling in quietness and peace in the Millennium.  In regard to the second meaning of his name request, I cannot read its spiritual significance.

Pharez a breach, and Zarah a rising (as the sun), were  twins, and they are also double types.  First, inasmuch as Pharez was born between the first appearance of Zarah’s hand and his eventual birth, he is a type of the Church.  It, too, was “born” as a “breach” in the interval between the appearance of the “hand” (the seeming birth of the believing nation two thousand years ago) and the “birth” yet to take place at the end of the Tribulation.  As far as the order of their births is concerned, Zarah represents the remnant whose “birth” has yet to take place. 

The second typical picture, however, must obviously be different, having to do, not with the order of their births, but with their being twins.  From this perspective, then, it seems that it is Pharez who represents the remnant, while Zarah represents the saved Gentiles who will also enter the Millennium.  As descriptive of those inhabiting the millennial earth, the message seems to be that time will bring the inevitable “breach” that must always separate faith from unbelief; while the “rising” may speak of the increase of unbelievers in the Millennium.

46:13.    “And the sons of Issachar, Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.”

Issachar means he will be hired: there is reward: he will bring reward.  It is apparent that he represents labor that brings reward, and as one of those who went to Goshen, he seems to teach that the Millennium will be like every other age, in that during that time, man will enjoy the fruits of the earth in proportion to the diligence of his labor.  And, as in every other age, there will be also opportunity to serve God, the recompense of that service being paid, no doubt, when the service is ended, and the servant will have entered into the eternal state. 

Issachar’s sons being four would teach us that the labor of the millennial age will be similar in another respect to labor in any age: it will be the means of testing whether men will be “content with such things as they have,” or whether they will seek to be rich in earthly things at the expense of the things that are eternal. 

The first son is Tola, meaning a worm (used in dying crimson or scarlet).  The Psalmist pointed to the Lord’s humility when he wrote, “But I am a worm, and no man” (Ps 22:6).  This may indicate perhaps, that we are to see Tola as being representative of those in the Millennium who will also be willing to occupy humble places in order to do the Lord’s business.  The fact that the Gospel will have to be preached implies the necessity for some, like their Lord, to be made poor in the things of this world, so that others might be made rich in the things that are eternal. 

The second son is Phuvah he was scattered.”  In keeping with the fact that the Gospel will be preached, we may see in Phuvah perhaps, a picture of those who will be willing to be “scattered” in the millennial earth so that the Gospel will be made available to the nations. 

The usual meaning of Job is the cry of woe: I will exclaim, but relative to this third son of Issachar the meaning is he will cry, and this also may have reference to the preaching of the Gospel.  The millennial evangelists will cry out the same good tidings as have been proclaimed by the evangelists in every age. 

The fourth son is Shimron a guardian, which may have reference to the need for some to be the guardians of the truth in the Millennium, just as there has been the need for that same guardianship in every other age.  We should not forget that as the population increases so will the number of unbelievers also increase, for those born in the Millennium will be no different from those born in any other age: they will be born with a fallen corrupt nature, and they will need a new spiritual birth to fit them to dwell with God in eternity.  The natural man in the Millennium will be no less a hater of God and His Word than the natural man in any other age. 

It may be necessary to remind ourselves that the counterparts of Issachar and his sons have similar work to do in this present age of grace. 

46:14.  “And the sons of Zebulun, Sered, and Elon, and Jahleel.”

Zebulun means dwelling, and as one who also went to Goshen, he presents the truth that in the Millennium, not only Israel, but all the nations, will dwell in peace and safety. 

Sered means stubbornness subdued.  The stubborn rebellion that has marked Israel since her earliest days, and that has for so long robbed her of blessing, will be broken by the Tribulation judgments.  When she enters the Millennium her stubbornness will have been subdued, as will that of the Gentile nations.

Elon means might: oak.  In the Millennium, she who has been least among the nations, will be the greatest.  Then will be fulfilled the word spoken by God in regard to millennial Israel, “And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail” (Dt 28:13).

Jahleel means the hope of God.  The remnant, who with nothing outward to justify it, will place their hope in God in the Tribulation, and will find that hope abundantly recompensed by the blessings of the Millennium. 

46:15.  “These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padan-aram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.”

In our study of Genesis chapter twenty-nine we noted that Leah represents the natural man’s submission to legalistic ordinances, even though he finds that submission wearisome.  It is clear also that the Levitical ritual will be restored in the Millennium.  The reference, then, to these six as being “the sons of Leah,” may be to teach us that what had once been a wearisome ritual, will yet be the very means by which converted Israel will express her joyful worship.  It must be recognized that the Levitical ritual of the past was anticipative of Christ’s coming to make atonement for sin: in the Millennium that same ritual will be commemorative of that great work.

“Which she bare unto Jacob in Padan-aram.”  In chapter twenty-eight we found Padan-aram to be a picture of this world where pride rules, and where man lifts himself up in independence of God.  The mention of the place here again in connection with what seems to be descriptive of the character of the Millennium, may be to remind us that the same spirit of pride and independence will develop also in that coming glorious age.

“With his daughter Dinah.”  Dinah means judgment, and her birth is recorded in Ge 30:21.  There we took her to represent the judgment that must inevitably come upon the attempt to be justified by works.  In her entering Goshen we are meant to see perhaps the truth that in the Millennium the identical error will arise.

“All the souls ... were thirty and three.”  This figure is arrived at by including Jacob himself and Dinah, and doesn’t of course include those whose names are listed in the remainder of the chapter.  The prominent factor here is three, the number of resurrection.  The remnant will consist of those who will have been resurrected, not out of physical, but spiritual death. 

We might note at this point that there is a four-fold division of Jacob’s children according to their mothers.  Since four is the number of earth and testing, the division declares that the remnant entering the Millennium, though saved, will be an earthly people, and the Millennium, like every other age, will be a time of testing, that testing revealing that man, even in that near-perfect environment, will be still a fallen creature, needing a new spiritual birth to fit him to dwell with God eternally. 

46:16.  “And the sons of Gad, Ziphion, and Haggi, Shuni, and Ezbon, Eri, and Arodi, and Areli.”

Gad means an invader: a troop: fortune, and in chapter thirty we noted that he seems to represent mere loveless religious activity apart from faith in Christ.  The religious activity of the remnant will be of a different character in the Millennium.  Then they will be as a troop of God, enjoying His blessing (fortune), invading the realm once ruled by Satan, to spread the knowledge of God among the millennial nations. 

It is interesting to note that his mother was the servant Zilpah meaning flippant mouth: to drop, trickle, whom, in our study of Ge 29:24, we have taken to represent the feeble testimony of mere lip service to God.  Gad and his seven sons (number of perfection and completeness) speak very clearly, not of the worthless testimony represented by his mother, but of the fruitful testimony of faith.  Such will be the character of the testimony borne by the saved remnant in the Millennium.

Ziphion means the watchful, and an essential part of effective testimony is watchfulness.  Watchfulness will mark the remnant in the Millennium.

Haggi meaning my feast tells us that he who would be a witness for God must himself “feast” on the Word of God, and the Millennial remnant will do just that.

Shuni my rest declares that the believers of the millennial age, like believers in every other age, will know the peace that comes from resting in God.  The man who would testify on God’s behalf, must himself be resting in God. 

Ezbon means hasting to discern: I will be enlargement.  In him we learn that the discernment necessary for a good testimony in any age, will characterize the believers in the Millennium.  And it goes without saying that an effective testimony brings enlargement of the number led to believe that testimony. 

Eri my awaking: my stirring up, points to yet another element that will mark the millennial-age remnant.  There will be that Spirit-directed activity, apart from which nothing of worth can ever be accomplished.

Arodi means I shall subdue: I shall roam.  Two further attributes of an effective testimony are set before us in Arodi.  Another necessity of an effective testimony in the Millennium, as in every other age, will be the subduing of the flesh; while the second meaning I shall roam reminds us that an effective Gospel witness requires us to “roam” (go forth) with the Gospel, and this too, it seems, will be an attribute of the Millennial-age believers.

Gad’s seventh son is Areli, meaning a lion is my God: he cursed my God.  I am unable to determine the spiritual significance of the second meaning, but the first scarcely needs comment.  Witnessing requires that the witness have the courage born of the knowledge that the God he serves is the One against whom no foe can stand.  The Christ we serve is He, Who having come once as the Lamb, will come again as the Lion.  Gad and his sons therefore, point to the effective witness of the remnant in the Millennium. 

46:17.  “And the sons of Asshur: Jimnah, and Ishuah, and Isui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister: and the sons of Beriah: Heber, and Malchiel.”

The happy condition of the millennial remnant is declared in Asshur which means happy.

Jimnah means right-handed: he will number.  Since the right hand speaks of power and strength, Jimnah portrays the millennial remnant as a people strengthened by God, and numbered as His own. 

Ishuah meaning he shall equalize portrays them also as a people whose weakness is equalized or balanced by Divine power; while Isui meaning he will justify me, declares them to be a people justified by God.

Beriah meaning in evil, is difficult to translate.  It may be perhaps, that he represents what will be the position of the remnant as time passes, and the millennial world population increases: they will find themselves eventually living in a world where evil (though hidden in the heart) will increase as the number of unbelieving men increases. 

Serah means the prince breathed, but I am unable to translate that meaning into spiritual truth, nor can I understand the significance of the name of Beriah’s son Heber meaning a company: enchantment, though the latter appears to have an evil connotation. 

The name of Beriah’s second son, however, speaks for itself.  He is Malchiel, which means my king is God.  Such will be the glad confession of the remnant in the Millennium. 

46:18.  “These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls.”

Since the meanings of Zilpah, Laban, and Leah have already been discussed in earlier studies there is no need to repeat them here. 

The factors common to sixteen are two (number of witness or testimony), four (number of earth and testing), and eight (number of a new beginning).  The remnant will be the millennial testimony to God’s grace in an age which will be no less one of testing than the ages preceding it.  They will be also, in a scene of earthly testing, the witness to the truth that God in them has produced a new believing Israel. 

46:19.  “The sons of Rachel Jacob’s wife, Joseph and Benjamin.”

Joseph and Benjamin we have already seen to be types of Christ, and for the meaning of Rachel’s name the reader is referred to the notes on Genesis chapter twenty-nine.  As we have noted already, however, these sons of Jacob who entered Goshen appear to represent attributes or characteristics of the remnant who will enter the Millennium.  Such being the case, then, Joseph represents them as they will have been before the Millennium - despised, hated, persecuted, but Benjamin represents them as they will be in the Millennium - exalted, honored, ruling.  In every age the path of Christ’s own is the same as the path He Himself trod: degradation precedes exaltation. 

46:20.  “And unto Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him.”

The notes on Ge 41:45 should be consulted for the spiritual significance of Asenath and Potipherah, and verses 50-52 of the same chapter for the spiritual significance of Manasseh and Ephraim.  There we took them to represent the Church, and it may be that they represent the same thing here.  We have to remember however, that the Church in the Millennium, unlike the remnant, will be in heaven, not on the earth, and in this connection it is significant that the type preserves the distinction between the two dwelling places.  Jacob’s family, representative of the remnant that will enter the Millennium, dwelt in Goshen (type of millennial Canaan), but clearly Joseph (type of Christ), and Asenath and her two sons (type of the Church) didn’t dwell in Goshen, for in verse twenty-nine we read, “And Joseph ... went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen.”

While therefore, the first application is to the Church, an application to the millennial remnant isn’t thereby excluded.  The ancestry of the remnant is no better than that of the Church, and as Manasseh means causing to forget; and Ephraim, double ash-heap: I shall be doubly fruitful, so will that fruitful remnant, enjoying millennial blessings, forget all the sorrow of the Tribulation

46:21.  “And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.”

The remnant will be what Benjamin’s name means: son of the right hand.  Among the millennial nations (God’s earthly sons), Israel will be the first - “Son of the right hand.”

Benjamin’s sons were ten, the number of God as Governor.  The remnant will be the principal agent of that government among the nations of the millennial earth. 

The first son’s name is Belah swallowing, but I am unable to decipher its spiritual significance. 

The second, Becher, has two meanings dromedary: first-born. I can’t interpret the first meaning, but “first-born” continues to emphasize that the remnant will be as God’s firstborn among the nations.  Since, however, the firstborn is almost invariably representative of the flesh, there may be here also the suggestion, that though having much less opportunity to express itself than in former ages, the flesh will still be present in the Millennium, just as in all other ages.

Ashbel has four meanings, only one of which I am able to decipher.  They are a man in God: a man of Baal: fire of Bel: I will make a path.

The first meaning is a particularly apt symbol of the Millennial remnant: that first generation will all be men in God.  The second meaning, a man of Baal, indicates, however, that after that first generation which will enter the Millennium, there will begin to appear again in their children those who will be “men of Baal,” that is, unbelievers who by refusal to trust in Christ, will make themselves heirs of Satan’s ultimate judgment: they will dwell with him for ever in the torment of the lake of fire.  The fourth meaning announces the truth that God always makes a path for His own, no less in the Millennium than in any other age.

Gera means the cud: a grain: sojourning.  The first two are related to food, but in Scripture, literal food is the symbol of spiritual food, i.e., the written Word, which is the revelation of Him Who is the Living Word, the corn of wheat that fell into the ground and died.  To be classified as clean, one of the requirements of an animal was that it be a ruminant, i.e., a cud chewer, which typifies study of and meditation on the Scriptures.  These things therefore, combine to teach us that devotion to the Scriptures will mark the millennial remnant, while the third meaning sojourning, reminds us that with all its blessedness, the Millennium will still be only an earthly state, in which men will sojourn prior to entering the eternal state.

Naaman pleasantness needs no comment: it will be the characteristic of the remnant in the age that will conclude earth’s history. 

Ehi my brother may be meant to teach the general truth that in the Millennium men will dwell together in peace as brothers.

Rosh head: chief points to the fact that in the Millennium the remnant will be head or chief of all the nations. 

Muslim shaking: waving, and Hubris coverings, convey no message that I can decipher. 

Ard I shall subdue, continues to point to Israel’s millennial supremacy.  All the nations will be in subjection to her. 

46:22.  “These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.”

Since Rachel represents the expression of Jacob’s spiritual life, these fourteen sons may be meant to teach us that the remnant, though on earth, and enjoying earthly blessings, will be nonetheless a spiritual people. 

The factors of fourteen are two and seven, representing witness or testimony, and perfection or completion, respectively.  The number of these sons therefore, is the symbolic witness to the perfection of the spiritual state of the millennial remnant.  God will see them as He sees believers of all ages, not in the imperfection of their earthly state, but in all the perfection of their spiritual state as men in Christ. 

46:23.  “And the sons of Dan, Hushim.”

In Dan judging: a judge, we have the symbolic announcement of the fact that in the Millennium Israel will function as God’s judge or ruler over the nations. 

His son Hushim means hasters, but I can’t determine the spiritual significance of this name.

46:24.  “And the sons of Naphtali, Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.”

Naphtali means my wrestling: my tortuosity.  It will be out of long wrestling, and by means of a tortuous path, that the remnant will enter the Millennium. 

Naphtali’s first son, Jahzeel, means God will divide (apportion).  As God has apportioned chastisement to Israel while she walks in disobedience, so will He apportion blessing and peace to the remnant in the Millennium. 

The meaning of Guni is uncertain, but thought to be my defender.  If this is correct, then it simply serves to remind us that as God has been Israel’s Defender, even in disobedience, so will He continue to be the Defender of the obedient millennial remnant.

Jezer means imagination: form: purpose, but I regret being unable to read the spiritual significance of any of these meanings. 

Shillem means recompense, and speaks perhaps, of the fact that millennial blessings will be the recompense of the remnant for all their afflictions patiently endured for Christ’s sake in the Tribulation. 

46:25.  “These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.”

Bilhah represents the ceremonial law, see notes on Ge 29:29.  Her sons therefore, entering Goshen, represent the remnant that will enter the Millennium.  There, the nation that has been for so long occupied with an empty ritual, will use that same Levitical ritual to worship God in spirit and in truth.  As noted already, in the past the Levitical ritual was anticipative: it pointed to the one great sacrifice that would fulfill its types.  In the Millennium, however, it will be commemorative, for it will be by means of that same Levitical ritual that the remnant will look back to Calvary, presenting their worship by means of those literal sacrifices.

The number of Bilhah’s sons is seven, the number of perfection and completeness.  The remnant will be the living proof of the perfection of God’s work in the restoration of Israel. 

46:26.  “All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were three score and six.”

Jacob himself, and Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, and the sons’ wives, are not included in this number.  Clearly, by these omissions, God has been selective in making the number sixty-six, and since He never acts capriciously, it is for a purpose.  Six, the number of man, weakness, evil, is the prominent factor here, as it is also in the number of the beast, Re 13:18.  The lesson, then, seems to be that we are not to forget that the remnant, saved though they are, are still only weak, sinful men, as are all believers still in the body.  That the potential for evil will exist in the remnant is demonstrated by the fact that it will be the descendants of that same believing remnant who will flock to join Satan in his last rebellion against God shortly after the conclusion of the Millennium. 

46:27.  “And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were three score and ten.”

Joseph’s sons seem to represent the Church, while Egypt represents the world, and in the present context, the millennial world, but as has been noted already, Joseph and his family dwelt in a place other than Goshen.  The inclusion of Joseph’s sons therefore, may be to teach us that the millennial age will be one of blessing for the remnant on earth, and for the Church (together with the resurrected Old Testament saints) in heaven. 

Again God has been deliberately selective, for while the seventy includes Jacob, Joseph and his sons, it excludes the sons’ wives.  Since seventy is the number of completion and perfection, it may be that in contrast with the imperfection of the physical state portrayed in the sixty-six, we are to see here in the seventy the perfection of their spiritual state. 

Another fact we should note is that in Scripture the number seventy isn’t always described as three score and ten: there are times when it is written simply as seventy.  Its division here, then, into three score and ten is obviously for a purpose.  Three is the number of resurrection, as ten is of Divine government.  The spiritual lesson therefore, is that these saints, some on the millennial earth, and some in heaven, all stand spiritually on resurrection ground, the one having been resurrected out of spiritual death, the other having been raised also out of physical death. 

46:28.  “And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen.”

Since Judah means he shall be praised, the spiritual lesson of his going before Jacob isn’t difficult to interpret.  He represents the praise that will go up from the remnant for all that Christ will have done for them.  In his going ahead of the family, and in his dwelling with them when they entered Goshen, we have the symbolic revelation of the fact that the praise of the remnant will not only precede their entering the Millennium: it will continue throughout that age. 

46:29.  “And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him, and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.”

As we have noted already, this reveals that Joseph dwelt in a place other than Goshen, but since Goshen represents millennial Canaan, it simply confirms what a careful reading of Scripture makes clear: in the Mille- nnium Christ will not be sitting literally on the throne in the earthly Jerusalem, but will be ruling over the earth from the heavenly Jerusalem, the earthly administration of His government being in the hands of an earthly king who will be a literal descendant of David.  There will be, in fact, a restoration of the theocracy which was typically foreshown in Solomon’s reign. 

The joyful weeping that accompanied the reunion of Joseph and his father tells of the joy of Christ and the remnant on that day of their reunion, now very near. 

The use of the name Israel continues to speak of the perfection of the spiritual state of the millennial remnant. 

46:30.  “And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.”

This recalls the experience of Simeon recorded in Mt 2:29,30, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace ... for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”  It declares the joyful satisfaction, not only of the millennial remnant, but of all the redeemed, upon seeing the Lord Jesus Christ face to face.  That moment will be the supreme experience of every believer. 

46:31.  “And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me.”

Since Jacob’s family represents the remnant which will have confessed Christ in the Tribulation, Joseph’s announcement to Pharaoh may be the symbolic fulfillment of Mt 10:32, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father....”

46:32.  “And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle, and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.”

Their being shepherds has special significance in view of the fact that God had made the Israelites, not only shepherds literally, but spiritually also.  It was His intention, that like true shepherds, they should have led the lost sheep (the nations) to Christ, but we noted in our study of chapter thirty-seven, that the unfaithfulness of the Israelites as spiritual shepherds was symbolically disclosed in the literal unfaithfulness of Joseph’s brethren.  Their unfaithfulness, however, hadn’t annulled their calling - they were to be introduced to Pharaoh as shepherds.  It will be as “shepherds” of the nations that Christ will yet present the millennial remnant to His Father, they having been true shepherds in the Tribulation as they preached the Gospel and sought to point earth’s lost sheep to the Savior so that they might first enter the Millennium, and ultimately the new earth.

46:33.  “And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?

46:34.  “That ye shall say, Thy servants trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”

These two verses have to be interpreted in the light of the statement that, “Every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”  Some have taken this to mean that Joseph instructed his brethren to practice deceit by having them present themselves as cattlemen only, and not as shepherds also.  This, however, can’t be correct, for in verse thirty-two Joseph declared his intention to tell Pharaoh that his brethren were shepherds, and that, in fact, they had brought their flocks with them.  In addition, the first four verses of chapter forty-seven make it clear that they presented themselves as shepherds. 

The explanation is that if they are to be permitted to dwell in Egypt, it must be in spite of their being shepherds, for they knew no other trade.  This sheds light on the spiritual significance.  If they were to be permitted to dwell in Egypt, it would be because of their relationship to Joseph, and in spite of the fact that shepherds were “an abomination unto the Egyptians.”   

The remnant will dwell in peace on the millennial earth because of their relationship to Christ.  The “shepherd” (the believer) will be as much an abomination to the “Egyptian” (the unbeliever) in the Millennium as in every other age, and we have noted already that the Millennium, which will begin with a population of believers only, will quickly become the dwelling place of unbelievers also.  Human nature won’t change in the Millennium: the “shepherd” will still be “an abomination unto the Egyptians.”

[Genesis 47]



     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough